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Showing posts with label homemade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homemade. Show all posts

Earth Day Party: Spring themed snacks, crafts, books and printables


Spring is here and what better way to celebrate than with an Earth Day story party? Here are spring and weather themed snacks and snack crafts (snacks that do double duty as crafts that kids make themselves). I've added a list of books to read for literature connections, along with free printable book PDFs where available. 

Spring flower cookies: Use refrigerated cookie dough or better yet, make better-for-you honey cookie dough (unbleached flour, honey, baking soda and light butter). Color pink or purple with grape juice. Have each child make four small balls and arrange in a square. Bake and place M&Ms in center. Read "The Tiny Seed" Eric Carle using this free printable PDF. 

Rain Goblets: Buy inexpensive rain gauges and to serve juice. Kids can practice measurement plus get a cool rain gauge to take home and use in the garden. Read "Peter Spier's Rain"

Rainbow eggs: These are made like dyed Easter eggs. Hard boil eggs (about 15 minutes). Cool and gently crackle shells but don't remove shells. Dip eggs in food coloring or (my preference) different colored juices for dye. Now remove shells to find the pretty patterns in the egg white. Reuse colored shells in a mosaic pattern to be really eco-friendly for Earth Day. Read "The Egg Tree" by Katherine Milhouse and "An Extraordinary Egg" by Leo Lionni. 

Bird's nest cupcakes: Decorate cupcakes with frosting and sprinkle dyed green coconut on top. You can use broken pretzel sticks too. Place jelly beans or Skittles in "nest" for eggs. Use these in spring science lesson plans. Read "Are You My Mother?" (P.D. Eastman). Here's a free printable PDF

Dirt cups: Teach kids about soil layers, gardening and spring planting with these super easy, super yummy snacks kids will love to make. Per kid, you'll need a half cup of pudding, two Oreos, a graham cracker, a handful of M&Ms (spring pastel colors look the prettiest) and some gummy worms. If you can find gummy insects, add those too! Have kids make up chocolate pudding and crush Oreos and graham cracker. In clear plastic cups layer graham cracker (sand), pudding (mud) and cookies (dirt). Then they "plant" their seeds (M&Ms) and arrange their gummy critters on top! Perfect for Earth Day! Read (of course) "Diary of a Worm." (Doreen Cronin). 

Piggies in the mud: This was my youngest son Jake's FAVORITE! It's just chocolate pudding and animal crackers. Kids will love marching their animals through the "mud." Teach them that most animal species have babies in spring. Read "Ox-Cart Man." (Donald Hall). Here's a free printable PDF

Butterfly sandwiches: Let kids make their favorite sandwiches. Cut in triangles. Place pointy side together to make wings. Put a baby carrot or pickle spear in the center. That's the body, that was the caterpillar. Read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." (Eric Carle) Here's a free printable PDF, plus, check out my blog post for more Very Hungry Caterpillar printables. 


Homemade hats for kids: Earth Day recycled trash crafts with free printable paper hat patterns


Got kids Covid quarantined kids with stuck-at-home-itis? Got rainy-day, can't go out to play bored kids? Or, maybe you're looking for recycled trash crafts for Earth Day on April 22? If so, here's my teacher-mama first aid kit. Homeschool parents and teachers, your recycle bin is your best bud for hands-on eco-friendly, eco-nomical lesson plans. Repurpose and reuse household stuff in nifty, thrifty crafts, games and activities. Today's recycled trash crafts feature homemade hats for kids with hours of preschool dress up fun! Here's a guide plus links to free printable paper hats (this link goes to Enchanted Learning, another bestie for homeschool teacher-mamas and papas!)

The first prototype for these homemade hats was developed by our oldest daughter at 20 months old. We kept her blocks and toys sorted in recycled 5 pound peanut butter pails. One day, Little Miss emptied one, plopped it on her head, tucked handle under chin and voila—an instant helmet. Then she proceeded to saddle up and ride baby brother like her noble steed! After I removed the bucket handle for her safety and her from brother for his, I realized what really cool hats for kids can be made with a little repurpose and reuse ingenuity! 

Weed through your recycle bin for plastic ice cream buckets, butter tubs, coffee canisters you can repurpose and reuse. Size them so they fit child's head without any leftover. You don't want hats to completely envelop the child's face. You can repurpose and reuse milk jugs as awesome knight's helmets. Remove handle and use hole from the handle as a helmet visor. Cut a piece of plastic and attach with brads to make a visor flap.

Let children paint color, cover and decorate homemade hats however they wish. Wrap in aluminum foil for an armored helmet. Or have young inventors make hats, helmets and headpieces for robots, soldiers, aliens, animals, astronauts. Make homemade crowns for kings and queens and princesses (cut both ends out to make cylinder shape and decorate. Make cone-shaped medieval lady hats by rolling a square of paper in a funnel shape. Trim edge even. Staple recycled crepe paper streamers to hat. Cut decorations from recycle bin stuff. Repurpose and reuse old headgear in cute homemade hats for kids costumes. Repurpose and reuse silk flowers, fabric scraps, ribbons, yarn, buttons, appliques, and faux gems as decorations for your recycled crafts. Kids might wear their hats in an Earth Day parade! 

SS42 has lots of free printable paper hats for kids in several styles--baseball hats, hats with monster heads (zombies, vampire, spider web and pumpkin). There are free printable paper animal hats with noses and bills to go with animal costumes and a paper bucket hat to design and color yourself for Hat Day. Here are free printable paper hat patterns like the pointy party paper hats that attaches with a rubber band. 

My grampa was a newspaper printer. He always made newspaper hats for me and my kids (probably where my little hat maker got her inspiration).  In "Curious George Rides a Bike" George shows an easy way to make paper hat patterns or paper boats from newspaper. Here's his free printable paper hat pattern you can incorporate into reading lesson plans or activities for Earth Day. I think I'll make one in Grampa's memory! 


Math practice kit activities with printables

 Montessori and Math Their Way teach math in hands-on learning center tasks, as opposed to paper and-pencil lessons. Here's a homemade mini math learning center. Use this shoebox math facts practice kit for independent, on-the-go learning. Retention of math facts and operations is vital for higher math. Use this math homework practice kit to reinforce addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts.

 Children should practice 5-10 minutes 4-5 times a week. In a shoebox or plastic lidded box, place these items 

--color-coded list of digits. For example: 0-yellow, 1-blue, 2-red, 3-orange, 4-purple, 5-green, 6-brown, 7-pink, 8-black, 9-gray. Some 1,983 would be written blue-1, gray-9,black-8 and orange-3. Color coding helps many students visualize and organize numbers, learn place value and memorize math facts, 

--set of dice. Practice math facts by casting die and adding or multiplying two numbers shown. 

--set of dominoes (base 12 set is best) or homemade"domino"flash cards made from index cards. Write domino dot configuration in number color from chart. Student selects a domino and adds, subtracts or multiplies the two numbers. Write answers on back for self-checking. Here are free printable dominoes

--deck of playing cards--student chooses two cards and adds, subtracts, or multiplies them. Face cards are valued as such:(ace-1, jack-10, queen, 12 and king-0) Here's a free printable deck of playing cards

--math flashcards for each fact family. Purchase at Dollar Tree or discount store. Here are freeprintable math flashcards. Make flashcards by writing math fact (problem) in color code on one side and the answer on the back. 

--pencil, eraser and scrap paper squares--student writes out a fact family, or writes story problems, illustrating with items to represent (three apples times seven apples). Use for pop quizzes also.

 --tablet of small stickers or mini-stamper marker-- Child makes his own flashcards with stickers and scrap paper, for the math facts family on which he's working. 

--100 chart or cheat sheet. Student uses to skip count by different numbers (multiply), look for patterns, or practice facts. Here are free printable 100 charts. 

--yarn strung with 100 plastic beads. This homemade abacus is a great visual for math operations. Give student a problem, like 7x8, She counts out and add seven groups of eight. 

--food snacks with little pieces; fish crackers, breakfast cereal, raisins, candies, pretzels. Students demonstrate math facts with food while eating it. 

Keep math facts practice kit in the car. Use travel time for homework reinforcement.


Free Printable 4th of July Crafts History Lesson Plans for Kids


With Memorial Day right around the corner, here are educational US history art projects and patriotic crafts. Use patriotic crafts for 4th of July holiday art projects too.
* Homemade dough, putty, paint. Kids in US history typically had few toys, so they made fun with found materials. Turn the back yard into an old-school chemistry lab. Here are recipes for silly putty, moon sand, play dough and other media for patriotic crafts and art projects. If you have a natural clay deposit, mine your own. Make clay pots or marbles (a favorite old-times game). Concoct homemade fabric paint mixing tempera and Elmer's School Glue or powdered milk. Teach chemistry and experimenting with paint recipes for Memorial Day and 4th of July art projects from Nate and Rachel (safe enough for toddler crafts).
* Decorate tote bags. In times past, kids art projects were learning activities. Use US history patriotic holiday crafts to teach simple sewing, math and life skills lessons. Repurpose fabric tablecloths, sheets, blankets, pillow cases, towels. Have kids measure and cut two matching squares. Sew three sides of squares together by machine or with needle and thread. Turn inside out. Fold and sew a hem around the top edge. Braid scrap yarn, rope, twine, into handles. Attach and decorate with homemade paint.
* Family tablecloth. Family was important, elders were respected and everyone worked together in olden times. Hand print a clean plain-colored flat sheet or polar fleece blanket with fabric paint (see recipe above). Get everyone involved--grandma, grandpa, grouchy Aunt Mildred, the baby, the cat--dips a palm (paw) in paint and hand prints. Then, they sign names in permanent marker near their print. Make patriotic holiday crafts do double duty as gifts and give as a keepsake to an elderly relative.
* Flag pencils. Cut white sheets or plain fabric scraps into 4x6 squares. Show world flags and play afree printable flag bingo game from Suitcases and Sippy Cups. Then let kids create a personal flag that represents their interests. Color with markers or crayons. Hot glue to new pencils. Wave your flag patriotic holiday crafts in Memorial Day and 4th of July parades.
* Personal logo T-shirts. Famous Americans--Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson--are known by mottoes like "Don't Tread on Me." The Gadsden flag was an American revolution symbol, Universities typically have Latin mottoes. Have kids create their own slogan and logo to reflect their ideals. Then transfer images to T-shirts with fabric paints or permanent markers. Recycle old shirts. Buy packaged T-shirts. Check dollar stores for good prices on supplies for patriotic holiday crafts and Memorial Day or 4th of July art projects.

Have a Memorial Day and 4th of July parade. Sing US history songs, display your patriotic holiday crafts and art projects. Wear US history shirts. US History leaps off boring textbook pages and comes to life with these educational US history art projects.

Hands-On Homemade Reading Crafts, Book Activities, Literature Games


March is National Reading Month, starting with the NEA's "Read Across America." Looking for ideas to inspire a life-long love of books? Here are reading response activities, interactive ELA (English language arts) lessons, book-based crafts and literature response lessons. Book activities are hands-on, multi-sensory, cross-curricular Montessori-style. Use for interactive Readers Workshop, special education students, reluctant readers, divergent learners and summer reading enrichment.

Reading response journal. Have kids create personalized reading logs, respond to literature and complete book-based activities. Check my blog Free Lesson Plans 4U and Free Printable Lesson Plans for tips to make literature response journals and activity suggestions. Here are free printable reading activities and calendar tracker from PBS.

Homemade books. Cut book covers from cereal box. Cover with scrap wrapping paper or wallpaper. Cover with magazine picture collage. Decoupage by painting pictures with watered-down school glue, front and back. Cut lined paper pages (for text) and blank paper (for illustrations). Or use scrap paper and draw in text lines.

Book-based promotional materials. Have kids play marketer for their favorite book or author. Make posters, book covers advertising literature. Create 3-D sculptures, models or dioramas based on books. Make book-based merchandise: toys, snacks, food, games. In homeschooling, my 6th grade son designed a "Hobbit Holes" cereal box designed on his favorite J.R.R. Tolkien novel.

Book diorama. Create scenes from books using recycled products. Arrange scene in shoe box. Use small dolls (Lego, Fisher-Price, Little Tikes, Polly Pockets) as characters.
Story-reading audio/video presentations. Make audio recordings of kids reading books. Covert to mp3 files for iPod. Videotape students reading and story-telling. Upload videos to Youtube.

Story-telling. Students read aloud to younger students. Students act out children's books and present to younger or special needs classes. In high school, our oldest daughter acted out a Shel Silverstein's poem "Noise Day" for special education kids. They loved when she skateboarded across the stage!

Book-music connections. Create music playlists based on books. Select metaphorical songs. Kids will love choosing modern songs to represent story themes. Our family saw a production of "Macbeth." The play was set to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," "The Decemberists "This is Why We Fight" and "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant. It really resonated with students and helped them understand and relate to Shakespeare.For more reading response activities, visit my blog Kidz Literature.

Free Printable educational card games, board games


Card games and board games are excellent teaching tools. Games are interactive and hands-on and children learn many skills when they play card games. Educational card games teach kids to count, add, subtract, prioritize, plan, organize, sort, coordinate and evaluate. Card games can be created to teach content area and subject matter in lesson plans Card games help students memorize information. Here are free printable educational card games, playing cards, flashcards, dominoes and Memory games to use as lesson plans.
The Kidz Page has free printable educational card games, word games, flashcards, math games, sudoku games and lots of other educational learning games. They are brightly colored, cheerful games. Activity Village has free printable educational cards games, deck of cards for learning games, Memory games, dominoes and more. Planet Pals has a free printable animal matching deck of playing cards. You can play this game as Memory games also, finding pairs and sets.
Print Games has several cute free printable card games. Some are styled on vintage card games like Crazy 8s, Old Maid, Go Fish, and the regular deck of playing cards for solitaire, poker, rummy, etc. There are board games to print also. These make excellent family games and party games.
Mom's Minivan has a great assortment of free printable educational card games, travel and car games. There are bingo games, Battleships games, matching and Memory games, cootie catchers, connect the dot games, flashcards, decks of playing cards, dominoes and more.
DL-TK has a nice assortment of free printable educational card games, math games, matching and Memory games, dominoes, playing cards, flashcards and board games. There are free printable game tokens, playing pieces and dice.
Disney Family has gobs of free printable Disney activities, including Valentines based on Disney characters. Why not print sets of Disney valentines and make them into educational cards games, flashcards, playing cards, dominoes, matching and Memory games? Tim's Printables has free printable decks of playing cards.

For more Free Safe Kids Games visit the author's blog.